It may be hard to believe, but summer’s end is upon us, and the coming weeks will bring apple picking, pumpkin carving, sweater season, hot drinks, cool nights, and some of the best fall colors you can find in the Midwest.
If a Door County getaway is in your future, here are 20 must-do fall-tivities for taking in autumn’s harvest of food, color, and fun.
First things first: chase some of North America’s best fall colors: A little-known flex of Door County’s is that it has won numerous awards for best fall colors in the country. Hike in it, camp in it, drive past it, admire it from a coffee-shop window—spectacular fall color is all around us this time of year.
Stock up on pumpkins, gourds, and harvest decor at orchard and farm markets: Get all your harvest-time decorations at roadside orchard and farm markets run by local farmers and producers. Many of these stops also offer fall activities like hayrides and corn mazes.
Attend an annual fall festival or event: Fall doesn’t mean Door County’s legendary event and festival circuit shuts down. In fact, there are plenty of fall festivals, plays and theatrical events, run/walk events, outdoor events, and live music to enjoy in the coming months.
Camp in the quiet season: Autumn time is a simply splendid time to do some car camping or hike-in camping in Door County. Pack some layers and your warmest sleeping bag and enjoy our parks and campgrounds during the slower season.
- Hit up top parks: Speaking of parks, fall is when the crowds begin to thin out at Door County’s state parks and county parks. It’s the perfect time to tour our five state parks or 19 county parks and experience the magic of these wild places at their purest.
- Pick up local snacks and have an autumn picnic: Grab some local cheese, snacks, and wine or get a meal to-go and enjoy it outdoors on a blanket or at a picnic table at a park, shoreline, or roadside stop.
- Hike your favorite trails when they’re less crowded: Fall is the ideal time to hike in the Door region and much of Wisconsin, thanks to cooler temperatures and less-crowded trails. Head to a nature preserve or check out some of the area’s top trails.
- Take a scenic drive: If hiking isn't your thing, hop in the car, on a motorcycle, or on your bike and see the beautiful fall leaves from your vehicle or hit up a spot with epic scenic views.
- Pick your own apples at an orchard: Cherries may be the county’s favorite export, but apples are a very close second. Visit an apple orchard and hand pick a bushel or two to take home for cooking and baking.
Take up geocaching and head into the woods: There may be no better way to get the full fall-color experience than going on a naturalist treasure hunt in the woods, seeing the colorful leaves up close, and following the map wherever it leads you.
Dine on seasonal foods at restaurants or at home: Door County’s rural location means we’re rich in fresh, seasonal, local, and sustainable produce and food products. Find seasonal fare at restaurants of all varieties, farmers markets, and more.
- Seek out apple everything—including hard cider: ‘Tis the season for apple picking but even more so apple eating. Find fresh apples in dozens of varieties, apple pies, apple cider, apple cider donuts, and locally grown, pressed, and produced hard apple cider.
See fall color from the water: Whether riding on the boat or paddling the boat is more your speed, seeing shoreline and islands enrobed in fall reds, oranges, and golds is an incredible feeling. Find a boat tour or kayak tour or bring your own boat.
- Catch a game at a local watering hole: Football or basketball, college-level or professional, no matter your favorite team, there’s nothing like the excitement and camaraderie of watching a game with fellow fans at a sports-friendly restaurant or tavern.
- Seek out the ghosts of Door County’s past: Door County may be many people’s happy place, but that doesn’t mean its history is all sunshine and shorelines. Learn all about Door County’s haunted places and past, including the Alexander Noble House, and then check out these Halloween-time activities.
Refresh your wardrobe, your living room, your garden, or your pantry: Enjoy a little “me time” in the locally owned shops and stores of Door County, where you can find unique apparel, furniture and decor, garden accents, specialty food and drink, and much more.
Stock up on cherry product while it’s hot, including pie: Now that the summer cherry crop has been harvested, you’ll find cherry pies, fresh cherries, dried cherries, and cherry-infused everything just about everywhere you look.
- Take some time to slow down, relax, re-center, and appreciate the seasonal transition: Spas and salons, a hike in the woods, educational activities, or a little shopping trip—however you like to kick back and relax, you can do it in Door County.
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